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Old 09-24-07, 06:11 PM   #1
Jacobino
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Great discoveries while touring

Have you ever "discovered" a really cool local custom, food, drink, place, etc. while touring?

For example, I've tasted a lot of little-known home-made wines in Italy, and I have my favorite food, ice cream, and coffee places up and down the Pacific Coast Highway.

What serendipity have you experienced on a tour?
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Old 09-24-07, 07:50 PM   #2
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Great topic!

While participating in GOBA (the Great Ohio Bike Adventure) last summer we had layover in Wapakoneta. We had the usual map of tourist spots. One place not on the map that we learned about through word of mouth was a home with a yard full of stone structures and sculptures. I can’t begin to describe it and the pictures I took there don’t do justice to the space. We entered a back yard that opened up into another yard, then another space, and so on. Like another dimension. I found mention of this place when I got back home at www.narrowlarry.com/nltot.html. Most interesting was the gentleman who created the space came out to talk to our curious group of cyclists who wandered by. It was fascinating to hear about his work, philosophy, way or life. This was truly a lucky find and was in tune with the pace of our leisurely, seven day bike tour.
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Old 09-24-07, 08:30 PM   #3
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35 yr-old discovery, while on tour w/ several fellow highschoolers: Mixing a can of (drained) fruit cocktail with a can of vanilla pudding makes a great dessert.

Similar discovery several days later: mixing a can of fruit cocktail, with a can of pumpkin pie filling purchased because we couldn't find pudding, tastes awful. Really, really awful.
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Old 09-24-07, 09:20 PM   #4
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If you haven't been to Scotland and experienced Irn-Bru, why are you still alive?

In New Zealand I discovered that scroggin makes a great post-ride snack.
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Old 09-25-07, 01:10 AM   #5
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Irn-Bru is basically liquefied baby aspirin that 'neds' drink in between hangovers.
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Old 09-25-07, 05:38 AM   #6
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If you haven't been to Scotland and experienced Irn-Bru, why are you still alive?

In New Zealand I discovered that scroggin makes a great post-ride snack.
What is scroggin?
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Old 09-25-07, 06:07 AM   #7
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From the wikipedia description it sounds like Gorp.
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Old 09-25-07, 07:35 AM   #8
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While cycling around Lake Ontario, I stopped in Bloomfield, and discovered Slickers, which has the best ice cream in the world.
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Old 09-25-07, 09:50 AM   #9
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while cycling in Chile, The Cherimoya, or custard apple.

We don't have them in the UK, mores the pity, they are very tasty..

I think they have them in Australia, so I may be eating them again soon.

george
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Old 09-25-07, 02:43 PM   #10
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It's difficult to beat Applestrudel served at one of the typical Alpine top restaurants in Switzerland, but a German bakery beside Lake Arenal in Costa Rica came pretty damn close.
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Old 09-25-07, 03:24 PM   #11
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While not discovered while cycling, it's hard to beat Cafe Du Mond in the French Quarter for their Beignets and coffee. BTW- Don't waste your time with any beignets not made in New Orleans, they're like frozen White Castles.....just not worth it!
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Old 09-25-07, 03:29 PM   #12
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I happened upon two small rock shelters on a quiet road in Burgundy, France. They were from neolithic times. The site was marked on the Michelin map as having archaeological significance, which was the reason I chose that route.

I think the shelters were 4000 -5000 years old. Astonishing to see something that old built by human hands!
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Old 09-25-07, 04:05 PM   #13
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On my first bike tour of England, I saw a place called The Forest of Dean on the map and decided to ride through it. At the end of the forest is Symonds Yat, a spot in the Wye river with a 180 degree turn. It was a wonderful spot. I saw a Peregrine Falcon in the trees lining the hills. It was pure serendipity.

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Old 09-25-07, 09:22 PM   #14
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What is scroggin?
It's basically a mix of dried fruit, nuts and chocolate. I've been thinking of going to a local supermarket and getting the ingredients to put together some of my own to take on some weekend tours later in the year.
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Old 09-25-07, 11:06 PM   #15
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For colourful little towns, it's hard to beat Chemainus on Vancouver Island. This is a small town with some amazing murals on its buildings. There's also a park with an amphitheathre. In summer and on weekends, there's often entertainment in this park. It's a good place to sit and rest for a while — or to stop nearby for the night.
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Old 09-26-07, 12:56 AM   #16
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While passing through the hills of Kentucky a man might consider himself enlightened by stopping in an owner named general store (Kenny's Market, etc) and purchasing a locally made softdrink called Ale8-1. It is quite addictive.
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Old 09-26-07, 04:47 AM   #17
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Way too many to mention but one that comes to mind is the sticky pecan rolls from a Mennonite bakery in the back of a cut-rate grocery in Montana (in Rawlins, maybe?). They were simply perfect.

Last edited by staehpj1; 09-26-07 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 09-26-07, 06:42 AM   #18
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Earlier this month as I travelled along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, I found myself in Montmagny, Quebec, smack in the middle of "Le Carrefour mondial de l'accordéon" -- "The World Accordion Meeting."

The town was packed with visitors and musicians from around the world. There were non-stop accordion performances along a street that had been closed to traffic, in parks, and on street corners. In restaurants, patrons were serenaded by accordion players. Plus there were amazingly talented musicians playing other folk instruments, and traditional Quebec dancers.

http://accordeon.montmagny.com/carre...?ArticleID=135
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Old 09-26-07, 07:51 AM   #19
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Sure. Riding on the Sparta-Elroy trail in SW Wisconsin, there is a pie shop called Pi-R-Squared right off the trail. All the cyclists stop there. They have something like 15 different kinds of fresh made pies. We made a couple of stops there that week.

My favorite stops, in general, are mid-morning breakfast breaks my brother and I take while on cycling tours. We generally start early and try to find a nice, local diner in a small town around 10 a.m., after we've ridden 30-40 miles or so. Usually I get pancake with fruit, but sometimes eggs. We try to stick to local restaurants rather than chains like Micky Ds.

Most of the bike tours I've ridden have some quirky stops along the way. One, somewhere up in Wisconsin, was a lawnmower graveyard. Not sure what that was about.

On GOBA, we stopped at what was supposedly the last remaining shop that made hand-blown glass garden globes. That was cool, but you couldn't exactly buy one and carry it on your bike.
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Old 09-27-07, 10:36 PM   #20
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purchasing a locally made softdrink called Ale8-1. It is quite addictive.
+1 on the ale8

when i was living in hawai'i my friends would send me six-packs. if you are much west of lexington it gets harder to find, on the bright side though ski becomes more readily available. ski is a soft drink similar (but superior) to mountain dew, they used to bottle it in greensburg but now the closest distributors are in illinois i believe. regardless it's good to hear that someone discovered ale8, we really do make the finest beverages in the world here in ky
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Old 09-29-07, 03:39 PM   #21
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The best places I've ever discovered while riding... bus stops perfectly situated just before a storm's gonna begin! haha
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Old 09-29-07, 06:52 PM   #22
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In Hermann MO, it's on the Katy, there are about a dozen Wineries. Better plan on staying the night.
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Old 09-29-07, 08:36 PM   #23
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Whipped cream filled dark chocolates in Belgium. Not those stiff cremes we get here. Real whipped cream. When you bite on the outer chocolate, it collapses from the pressure and the whipped cream 'poofs' out into your mouth, light and fresh. Genius, pure genius.
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Old 09-29-07, 09:10 PM   #24
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My latest discovery from a few weeks ago happened while traveling through Highland Park, Illinois when I stumbled upon Cameron's house from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", the famed launching point of the vintage Ferrari crashing through a window and into a ravine.
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Old 09-29-07, 09:47 PM   #25
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If you haven't been to Scotland and experienced Irn-Bru, why are you still alive?

In New Zealand I discovered that scroggin makes a great post-ride snack.
I lived in the UK for 6 years ... now back in the USA. Irn-Bru is definitely an acquired taste. One that I never acquired while I lived there. It's like gasoline ... with a touch of orange. That said, I grew to really like marmite, so I guess I have no taste.
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